According to whoever you listened to at Portimao, Alex Lowes was either a certainty to be a Ten Kate Yamaha WorldSBK rider in 2020 or absolutely nailed on to replace Haslam in the KRT set-up – or half a dozen other possibilities in this fluid rider signing period.
The rider himself, as of Sunday afternoon in Portugal, said he had not signed anything yet, and that it has taken so long, “Because I am not going fast enough. If I had won more races it would be easier wouldn’t it?
I do not know but contracts are not easy. You cannot just speak with someone and have a contract the next day. It takes a bit of time.”
Lowes did appear to assent to the effect that he had a made a personal decision where to go, which is a firm option. He would not be drawn on whether he fancied a change or not.
In the Sunday races at Portimao, he said, “I felt strong in the short race and I was almost holding Johnny for a few laps. In race two, Alvaro passed and when he passed the first time down the straight I thought I had to try pass himback.
“So I went past and the second time he went by me I was so far back it was impossible. When it gets hotter we struggle a bit more because our advantage of turning we are losing in the heat. Normally the Yamaha is a bit less competitive in the heat.
“But the race was good I had a fantastic battle with Leon. Obviously we are friends any way and we passed each other every lap on the last five. That was great fun and it was nice to have a few weeks off and come back with some good racing.
“It is a track that I have never had a top ten before with the Yamaha, so to have a third and a fourth I think was really good. Yesterday, with a seventh place, I think I chose the wrong tyre and didn’t have much chance. But today I was really happy and satisfied with the job we did. It is normally a real strong track for Michael so to beat him today twice, was really good.”
Lowes moved into third place in the championship after Portimao, after losing it to van der Mark after race one.
“It is close,” he said. For the rest of the year I am expecting a good fight and I think Chaz got a bit unlucky in the second race. But me, Michael, Leon, Toprak and Chaz, it should be a good fight to the end of the year.
“After the top two in the championship… it is all on for third place and I have a lot of motivation to keep working hard. I am trying to get podiums every weekend. When it comes to Argentina, with that slow hairpin onto that real long straight we could struggle a bit more.”